I know I said this was going to be South Korean Action Movie Week, but I changed my mind. This might be a bit rambling today though; Iida and her friend Kate are watching Ink. I love that film very deeply and it is not easy to focus on this review while it’s playing in the same room. I’ll do my best though, just for you.
Just jump already, damn it!
Former cop turned escaped convict Nick Cassidy climbed out on the the ledge of the Roosevelt Hotel and vanished. He awoke to find himself trapped in the past, facing mirror images that were not his own, driven by an unknown force to change history for the better. His only guide on this journey is Joey, an observer from his own time that only Nick can see and hear. And so Cassidy finds himself leaping from ledge to ledge, striving to put right what once went wrong, hoping each time that his next leap… will be the leap home. Or not.
Sam Worthington really needs to work on his accent. Russell Crowe can do a decent American accent, so can Guy Pearce and Radha Mitchell, but Sam? No way. A few words here and there, but if you give him a full speech it falls apart faster than you can say “I can do a real American accent!” As distracting as that is, it doesn’t quite ruin this solid flick from director Asger Leth. Sam plays Nick, a disgraced cop convicted of stealing the Monarch Diamond from property magnate David Englander while doing a moonlighting security gig. The movie opens when he’s already convicted and serving his term, though he still protests his innocence. Did he do it? Let’s face it: it wouldn’t be much of a film if he did. After escaping while on special release to attend his father’s funeral, he climbs out on the ledge on the 21st floor of the Roosevelt – which is owned by Englander – and says he will jump. NYPD negotiator Lydia Mercer is dispatched to talk him down but he’s just the diversion while his brother Joey breaks in to Englander’s vault across the street in order to prove Nick’s innocence by showing that the diamond was never stolen in the first place. That’s the plan, anyway. And that, in a nutshell, is the story of Man On A Ledge. As a story it is certainly intriguing, but in the execution it is fun but lacking.
The cast all do their best to convince, but the story is just too high-concept for its own good. Unfortunately the script plays second fiddle to the gimmick and it ends up as a predictable mess. Well, maybe mess is putting it a bit bluntly, but it is still less than it could have been. Worthington does his best to hold it all together as Nick. He is a talented actor but unfortunately the accent is a major stumbling block for him here as it is in most of his other American flicks. Jamie Bell is more convincing as Nick’s little brother Joey who, along with his girlfriend Amber, has the task of breaking into Englander’s vault in order to prove big bro’s innocence (long story). Genesis Rodriguez plays Amber, and the scenes of the two of them trying to break into the vault provide most of the humour in the film. These two are not some pair of master criminals; they are actually quite endearingly crap, constantly bickering all the way through the heist.
Among the cops, Elizabeth Banks is Mercer, the negotiator, with Ed Burns as her second and the legend that is Titus Welliver as the SWAT chief, and Anthony Mackie turns up as Nick’s former partner. All of them are reliable enough, but none really get much chance to shine as individuals; they are all just tools in service of the story. And while it is a decent enough passtime, it is really nothing to write home about. Ed Harris brings his usual classy presence to proceedings as the property magnate Englander, but even he can’t turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse.
On the technical end, the film is suitably impressive. The ledge itself is actually built up on the roof of the actual Roosevelt Hotel allowing for most of the action to be shot in the actual location. This really helps to sell the drama of the situation, as Leth is very fond of his crane camera soaring out over the abyss that is Madison Avenue while poor Sam is left dangling 21 storeys up.
The flick is nothing special and the twists can be spotted a mile away, but it is still a decent enough way to pass a boozey Friday evening. Honestly, you could do a hell of a lot worse.